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There is often not enough conversation around ‘what happens when we get old?’ After all, we’re all getting older together, so why do we have such a hard time talking about it?

We wanted to find out more about the truth around ageing from our customers. With a huge range of personalities and ages (from late ’50s to over 100), it was illuminating to hear the thoughts and opinions on ageing and ‘ageing with attitude’ from those who had lived it. In fact, we call them The Life Experts.

One of the main themes that stood out from our conversation was the importance of accepting things as they happen to you. As one resident said, “You can’t change what happens to you, but you can change how you deal with it. That’s the key.” In this way, acceptance doesn’t mean simply giving up, but rather a profound understanding that you accept life as it comes, both the good and the bad, and you still find your happiness in whatever situation you’re in.

Bernie (92) had recently lost his wife, and was still coming to terms with his late retirement. “Not everything is perfect every day, I get sad sometimes,” he said. “But if I get down, I sing in the shower, I pray, I get a good night’s sleep. It always works to pick me up.”

Others marvelled at the lottery that is life – some of us could have health issues, others are healthy but lonely, some have family close by, and some see their children only sparingly. At the end of the day, the advice was simple; it’s your opportunity, and your responsibility, to recognise what makes you happy, and pursue it. That insight has allowed us to give our residents the space and flexibility to both engage with their community, or quietly read in their homes. “I’m not much good at sitting around,” said Ruth (92). “I reckon you’ve got to keep busy as you get older, and I’m always active here. Some people are always telling me to sit down, relax. But I’ve got no patience for that. There’s always something new to do.”

“I can’t be bothered with grumpy people, I’m too old for that,” Dot (88) said. “When you get old, your sense of humour is all you have sometimes. And at the end of the day, it costs you nothing to live happily.”

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